CIBC Canada/Russia Series coming to Langley

Matt Lawson / November 6th, 2018

The CIBC Canada/Russia Series.
(Katie White / Flickr)

The Canada/Russia Series features the best players from the Western (WHL), Ontario (OHL) and Quebec Major Junior (QMJHL) hockey leagues playing against the top hockey prospects Russia has to offer.

Each league submits a roster and each roster hosts two contests against the Russians. The WHL won their first clash last night in Kamloops 2-1. They will play game two at the Langley Events Centre Tuesday night.

This is a great opportunity for Vancouver Canucks fans to come check out defensive prospect, Jett Woo, who currently plays for the Moose Jaw Warriors and doesn’t come out to Langley that often. Woo tallied an assist in the WHL’s first game.

North Vancouver product, Jordy Bellerive scored the game-winner halfway through the third period. The Russians outshot the WHL for the third time in the tournament’s 16-year history and outplayed them for the majority of the game. The Russians different style of play requires some quick and on-the-fly adjustments from the North Americans.

“It’s a different style of play. It was good…they were a little bit more laid back in some ways and a little more intense in other ways. It was a learning curve for all of us. We got our legs under us there later on and it worked out for us.” – Jordy Bellerive, WHL

Also on the WHL’s roster, is Vancouver Giants blue-liner, Bowen Byram. He’s undrafted but projected to be the top-ranked defenseman heading into the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

This tournament is what many consider to be a tryout and preview of sorts for the coming World Junior Championships in December. Woo, Bellerive, and Byram are three of the many hopefuls for Canada’s roster in the prestigious tournament.

WHL’s coach, Tim Hunter, who is also coaching team Canada at the aforementioned WJC says it’s a bit of a cat-and-mouse game between himself and Russia’s coaching staff.

“We’ll make some changes, they’ll make some changes. I’m pretty familiar with the coaches – this is the third time in this event coaching against them and this’ll be the third world juniors coaching against them.” – Tim Hunter, WHL coach

Tonight is the final game the Russians will be playing the WHL. Following the game, they are heading out east to play the OHL on Thursday in the first of their two-game series. Game one is in Sarnia and the second contest is set to take place in Oshawa.

Vancouver Canucks prospect, Michael DiPietro will be in net for team OHL. He is the reigning OHL goalie of the year and he’s hoping to help his squad to a sweep over the Russians who split the series last year.

Canada/Russia Series: By The Numbers
(stats: chlcaqadarussia.ca / image: Matt Lawson)